Posted by: Colin | August 10, 2011

DUG2011 Housekeeping

Hi All

Just some housekeeping to keep the momentum going for this year’s DUG meeting in Auckland New Zealand. Things are progressing nicely and we
already have our first registrations through. So first up some important links to remember.

Main DUG Site:

DUG online registration:

Accommodation details:

Post DUG Tours:

For those wanting to pay for their registration by credit card we can process these through a secure PayPal site.  Just select the credit card option on the
registration form and you will be send an invoice with the link to the PayPal site for payment.


DUG Seminars

If you would like to give a presentation at DUG, please contact Colin James with the following information:

•Your name

•Your planetarium or institution name

•Title of your presentation

•Brief description

•Preferred duration

•Any special equipment required beyond a standard conference
room video projector

Or alternatively you can use the online form at

Our recommendation is to prepare a 25 or 50 minute presentation. That duration should include time needed for questions so your actual presentation may be slightly shorter. If you have a longer presentation please contact us to make arrangements.

DUG Demos

The Digistar Awards are sponsored by Evans & Sutherland to recognize excellence in Digistar productions and to promote DUG library submissions. We encourage everyone to submit a DUG library entry to award consideration. All material is welcome for showcasing at the meeting, but only those that are submitted to the DUG library are eligible for the Digistar Awards.

Submitting via the DUG Library:

The DUG FTP site is the preferred method to transmit demos and library entries. Please follow-up any FTP submissions with an email so we know to look for them. Also, be sure to let us know whether you want the submission entered as a demo only or for submission to the DUG library and eligible for the Digistar Awards.


FTP site name:

Login: usrgroup

Submitting via Mail:

Colin James / DUG

c/o: Stardome Observatory

670 Manukau Road

One Tree Hill Domain

Auckland, New Zealand

•DII – CDROMs only
(Please Tar and GZIP your entries!)

•D3 and D4 – CD/DVD media is fine, however the preference is for USB  portable hard drives.

Please make your best effort to have all demo materials to use before October 15. Please send demo materials in advance and do not plan on
hand carrying demos to the meeting! When building demos for Digistar 3, please use the parent folder \Users\DUG2011\ and Digistar4 use D4Content\Users\DUG2011\ and adjust your scripts/installation accordingly.

Stardome Observatory is a Digistar4 facility with an 11 meter dome using dual Sony projectors. The system handles a full dome video resolution
of 4096×4096 pixels.

Please contact Colin James if you would like to confirm video rendering parameters.

Digistar awards

Following tradition, DUG meeting delegates bring a small gift from their home institution to be given away as part of a random
“door prize” drawing. Gift highlighting local culture or your facility are ideal and are a great way to showcase your institution. You are not required to bring a door prize. If you have small trinkets or other items that you would like to give to all delegates, that is perfectly acceptable. When you arrive, please be sure your door prizes are given to Colin James. You must be present to win door prizes.

Posted by: Colin | July 30, 2011

Online Registration now open

I am pleased to announce that the online registration form is now available for DUG2011, check out the registration page of this site or you can access the form directly at:

Looking forward to seeing you in November



Posted by: Colin | July 10, 2011

Updated details now online

You may have noticed some more menu items above, there are some new pages containing details for DUG2011. So check out the new pages containing:

Please take a look at the pages and let me know if you have any questions. The registration forms should be up in the next few days, still finishing them at the moment.

DUG2011 is coming up fast and there are plenty of exciting things being developed to fill in your days and nights while you are here. Fell free to contact Colin James if you have any questions or comments.

Posted by: Colin | June 8, 2011

Learn more about the anzSKA project at DUG2011

Vastly more sensitive than the world’s best existing radio telescopes, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will be one of the largest and most ambitious international science projects ever devised. It will help answer fundamental questions about the evolution of the universe.

Australia and New Zealand have been shortlisted by the international science community as one of two potential locations for the SKA and at this year’s DUG meeting participants will get a unique opportunity to learn more about this ambitious project.

Posted by: Colin | June 8, 2011

DUG 2011 Sponsorship opportunities

The 2011 Digistar Users Group provides a unique opportunity to be involved in the first DUG conference to be held outside of the continental United States. In November DUG will be heading down south to the shores of New Zealand being hosted by Auckland’s Stardome observatory. We are aware that making the trip down south is going to be a serious commitment for the delegates, so Stardome is conscious of making this an experience worth remembering.

To assist in this we are now seeking potential sponsors who would like to become involved in this special endeavour. There are a number of opportunities for sponsors to get involved, and Stardome is willing to work with each sponsor to make sure their brand is appropriately represented before, during and after the DUG meeting.

If you are interested in becoming a DUG sponsor please contact Colin James at as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Stardome is aiming on posting the registration forms on the web before the end of June, and would love to have the sponsors details included on those forms as they go out to the potential delegates. We look forward to working with you in to make the 2011 Digistar Users Group Meeting truly a memorable event for all those participating.

Posted by: Colin | March 17, 2011

DUG2011 Hotel Options and Transfers

Over the last few weeks we have been working away at trying to secure some nice hotel rates for DUG2011. To that end we have decided to offer a number of choices so you can go with which ever option will best suit your needs. There is one hotel located close to the Observatory (Novotel Ellerslie) and a couple located in the downtown Auckland area. The map below will give you an idea on the spread. Click on it to see the full map in google maps.


E&S are going to be providing pre DUG training (Monday 31st October-Wednesday 2nd November) and there will be post conference tours arranged for those that want to stay on Saturday (5th) and Sunday (6th), at this stage we are looking at hiring some vans and on Saturday driving down to Rotorua to see the geothermal parks, and on Sunday driving to the Hobbiton set for the tour around the movie set (at this stage it looks like it will be open for visitors in November). For planning purposes can you please let me know if you are interested in going on one or both of the tours, we are also looking for sponsors to help bring the tour costs down as well. Anyone interested in sponsoring the tours please contact me (

Registration forms will be coming soon, but best to secure your flights and accomodation now while the going is good.

Also I am aware that there will be many of you arriving in the country at around the same time, due to the spacing of flights into Auckland. So some of the staff here have decided to help you out by offering their services to transfer DUG attendees to their hotels, saves tha hassle of trying to find a taxi. If you are interested in catching a lift with one of our staff  just send me an email ( with your flight details and I will sort it our at this end for you, if there are enough people arriving at about the same time we can also arrange a van to shuttle you all out to accommodation. This could be a fun way to get a local guided tour out from the airport so let me know if you are interested.

Some more information on each of the hotel options including booking details is contained below. It is highly recommended that you book your accommodation as soon as possible, as the Rugby World Cup will be filling up places in Auckland. If you have any troubles obtaining accommodation for any reason please let me know.

Heritage Hotels Auckland

The Heritage Hotels Auckland have two properties available for DUG attendees, the Heritage Hotel Auckland or the CityLife Auckland. Both properties are located in downtown Auckland with the Heritage being a little more upmarket, and CityLife catering to those that want to be right in the centre of town.

 The prices for the Heritage hotel and CityLife are listed below and all quoted prices are in New Zealand Dollars and include GST (Tax):

Heritage Hotel Auckland
Superior Queen – NZ$199 per night
Superior King – NZ$199 per night
Deluxe One Bedroom Suite – NZ$224 per night
Executive One Bedroom Suite – NZ$254 per night

CityLife Auckland
Superior Queen – NZ$190 per night
Superior King – NZ$190 per night
Deluxe One Bedroom Suite – NZ$215 per night
Executive One Bedroom Suite – NZ$235 per night

To access the DUG rates at both of these properties you need to make the booking online. All you need to do is go to, select either of the Auckland hotels, pop your dates in and enter the code STO1171.


You will then see the discounted rates.  

These rates are valid from 25th October to the 10th November and all reservations are subject to availability.

Novotel Ellerslie Auckland

Novotel Auckland Ellerslie is a premier 4 star Auckland accommodation and conference venue. With 144 contemporary rooms featuring the perfect blend of sophistication and style, the hotel offers superior comfort with outstanding facilities including the award winning Acacia Restaurant and Garden Bar, a gym and business centre. Novotel Auckland Ellerslie offers complimentary parking and is just a 10 minute drive from the Auckland central business district and 25 minutes from Auckland Airport.

The prices for the Novotel Ellerslie are listed below and all quoted prices are in New Zealand dollars and include GST (Tax):

Novotel Ellerslie Auckland
Superior Room (Twin or Queen) – NZ$189 per night

Bookings can be made direct with the hotel using the booking code DUGAUCKLAND, the contact details for the hotel are:

Novotel Auckland Ellerslie
Phone: +649 529 9090

Please note that the special rate for Novotel bookings can only be done via phone or email, the DUGAUCKLAND code will not work for online bookings at the Novotel.

Mecure Auckland

Located in the heart of the Auckland waterfront district, Mercure Auckland overlooks the spectacular harbour and bustling city. Situated within walking distance of Auckland shopping, restaurants, the Viaduct Harbour, ferry terminals and Vector Arena, Mercure Hotel Auckland offers 189 rooms and suites, a gym, undercover valet parking, and a dedicated conference floor catering for 200 delegates. Vertigo Restaurant and Bar is located on the top floor of the hotel and offers great panoramic views.

The prices for the Mecure hotel are listed below and all quoted prices are in New Zealand Dollars and include GST (Tax):

Mecure Auckland
Mecure Guest Room – NZ$199 per night
Deluxe Mecure Guest Room – NZ$229 per night
Jnr Suite – NZ$269 per night

Bookings can be made direct with the hotel using the booking code DUGAUCKLAND, the contact details for the hotel are:

Mercure Auckland
phone: +649 3778920

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions around travel or accomidation.

Colin James

Posted by: Colin | January 13, 2011

DUG 2011 confirmed dates, and some information

The confirmed dates for DUG2011 are 2-4 November 2011 Here at Stardome Observatory in Auckland New Zealand. Currently I am talking with E&S about pre/post conference training options, and once they are finalised I will post the details here. There will also be some post conference trips arranged, again more details to follow.

So how do you get here? Well there are a number of options available; the national carrier (Air New Zealand otherwise known as AirNZ) offers direct flights from the US (LA and San Francisco) daily as well as London and some European cities. From LA or San Francisco the flight time is about 11 hours direct to Auckland. There is also the option of Qantas; however they tend to fly via Sydney which adds an additional 9 hours to the journey time when coming from the US. United operate code share flights with both AirNZ and Qantas, so if you are booking through United it might pay to check to see if they have you on the flight going via Sydney or direct to Auckland.

More to follow soon

Happy New Year all and hope to see you all soon

Colin James

Posted by: Colin | August 26, 2010

Some exciting information around DUG2011

Well another quick update from the lands down under, but also some exciting news as well. The DUG2011 survey is still open and will be closing on Monday 13th September, so please make sure you take the opportunity to go online and complete the survey to assist us with planning arounds dates and events. The survey link is 

As an added incentive we have a great prize pack, which will be drawn from those that either complete the survey online, or are in attendance at DUG in Phoenix. See below for details of what the pack contains. To be in the draw make sure you include your name and institution details in the online survey so we know how to contact you.

Some people have indicated that they would be interested in a post conference Hobbiton set tour (, this is still being looked at so there could be an opportunity, though it would come down to finding a sponsor to help cover some of the transport costs from Auckland, and the filming dates for the Hobbit as the set will be closed off to the public then. So still some hope here, will keep you all posted. If anyone is interested in possibly being a sponsor for the transport costs feel free to contact me (

Things are beginning to come together around the planning of content and some intersting speakers fo rthe opening and closing nights for DUG201.

From KAGAYA studios we are have the honour of being able to show his new planetarium show Starry Tales which is due for release in late 2011. The full dome planetarium show “Starry Tales” reproduces artwork from KAGAYA’s series “Starry Tales” including the most popular “The Zodiac” artworks.
You will be immersed in the fantasy world featuring Greek myths depicted as a sophisticated CG movie. Feel the people’s powerful imagination handed down under the starry sky from ancient times to the future, the hopes put into it and the beauty of humanity.

Stardome is also proud to announce that one of our guest speakers for DUG2011 is Greg Broadmore.

During the day Greg works as an illustrator, writer and conceptual designer for Weta Workshop and has designed for the motion pictures: District 9, King Kong, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Black Sheep amongst many others. Greg’s current project  is working as a designer on Stephen Spielberg’s new film “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” starring Daniel Craig and Simon Pegg. Through Weta Workshop, he is the creator and designer of Dr. Grordbort’s world of Rayguns and contraptions.

It’s not all roses and lollipops though – Greg worked on the feature films, Halo and Evangelion, both of which fell over during production, but there are no surviving documents that prove that it was his fault.

To top this off he has written and illustrated as well as drawn in the margins of many books. For instance, he worked on “The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island” and wrote and illustrated Doctor Grordbort’s books: “Victory” and “Doctor Grordbort’s Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory”.

Greg will be giving a presentation on his experiences in film design and illustration which will prove to be quite entertaining. We are really excited to have someone closely involved in NZ film production as a guest speaker for DUG2011. Some more of Greg’s artwork from his Gordbort’s seires can be seen below.

So what’s in the prize pack I hear you say? Well to celebrate Greg’s involvement in DUG2011 we have put together a pack of goodies from his Doctor Grordbort’s collection. The pack contains a Doctor Gordbort’s satchel, A Pomson 6000 pin, along with a copy of his books “Victory” and “Doctor Grordbort’s Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory”.

So jump online to complete the survey and ensure you have a chance of winning this great little pack.

See you in Phoenix





Posted by: Colin | June 29, 2010

DUG2011 survey closing soon

Dont forget to visit the DUG2011 survey site to assis us with picking a date that will benifit most people planning to attend 

The survey will be closing off in the next few days.

Posted by: Colin | June 17, 2010

It’s Survey Time

Well the year is passing by quickly and IPS is almost upon us, with DUG2010 not to far away. I though it was time to start looking at when we will be hosting DUG2011 so I have put together a survey to gain an idea of when is going to be suitable for most people and also who is interested in pre/post meeting trips and training.

Please visit the survey site and complete the short online survey, it will remain open for approximately one mont and then I will compile the results and bring should hopefully be able to let you know what dates we will be hosting at this years DUG in Phoenix.

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